Remember the joy of loving football for football’s sake? A nine-year-old Stevenage girl does after being selected as Arsenal’s mascot at Liverpool – despite the club being thrashed 4-0 at the weekend.

The Comet: Stevenage's Katie Harrington-Pike on the Anfield pitch before kick-off. Photo Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty ImagesStevenage's Katie Harrington-Pike on the Anfield pitch before kick-off. Photo Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images (Image: 2017 The Arsenal Football Club Plc)

The North London giants may have been routed by Jurgen Klopp’s hungry team on Sunday – but unlike 3,000 loyal Gooners at Anfield and millions more across the globe, young Katie Harrington-Pike still had a day to remember for the rest of her life.

Katie was selected at random from more than 36,500 children in the club’s membership scheme for youngsters, the Junior Gunners, to be Arsenal’s mascot.

Excited Katie – who may well be beleaguered manager Arsene Wenger’s only fan these days – went behind-the-scenes into Arsenal’s changing room where she met the entire squad including her favourite player Alexis Sanchez before kick-off.

The wide-eyed youngster then led the team onto the pitch alongside one of her idols, captain Laurent Koscielny, in front of 53,000 fans.

The Comet: Katie Harrington-Pike with a signed Arsenal shirt after the matchKatie Harrington-Pike with a signed Arsenal shirt after the match (Image: 2017 The Arsenal Football Club Plc)

Although Katie wasn’t able to inject her pride and enthusiasm from wearing the shirt into the Arsenal players representing the club on the pitch – who played as badly as seasoned observers can ever recall – she was delighted at sampling the experience of leading her heroes out for a Premier League game televised across the planet.

After the match, Katie said: “Arsene Wenger and all the Arsenal players made me feel so special.

“Each player gave me a hug and had a photo with me and signed an Arsenal shirt for me.

“Walking onto the pitch in front of more than 50,000 fans at Anfield was very nerve racking but Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny was very nice and kept me calm.”

Katie’s father Craig added: ”I thought Katie might struggle with the enormity of the occasion as she’s only nine, but she dealt with everything on the day in a very mature way.

“We were so proud to see her lead out the Arsenal players.

“We would like to thank everyone at Arsenal and Liverpool football club for making this day so special for all of us.”

In addition to being in with a chance to be a matchday mascot, the Junior Gunners is a great way for children to make new friends.

There are a number of great benefits to being a member including access to reduced price tickets for first team matches, as well as various events, competitions and quizzes held throughout the season.

The Junior Gunner Membership is open to fans aged 0 to 16, with prices starting from £10.

To register your interest to be a Junior Gunner visit